Friday, October 12, 2012

A Mature Young Man Writes of Democracy

David Smith, a friend of one of my daughter’s friends, wrote this essay about Democracy recently. My daughter stumbled upon it on Facebook and, naturally, thought I should read it. How pleased I am she sent it along to me! Isn’t it amazing the way friendships get so extended and elongated these days, with FACEBOOK et al around.
Charlie Leck

One of my kids – a daughter down in Chicagoland – teaches creative writing. You can understand why it makes me nervous that she occasionally reads these blogs. Recently, she came upon a piece written by a graduate student in fine arts at Pacific University, out in Oregon. He’s a Harvard grad, like Mitt Romney, but with a very different experience. His name is David Smith – really, it is! Should he seek to be successful in commercial writing I’m going to suggest a nom de plume – perhaps David Hamptsmith – or Mitt Hampschmeck.

I liked the piece so much that I asked permission to post it here. I’m grateful he granted me that thumbs-up. He put no title on it, but I’ll call it “You know, I’ve just had it!”

David writes of democracy – “Democracy, where one person – male or female – black or white or brown or yellow – equals one vote. Not suppressed. Not Jim Crowed. Not questioned. One person. One vote. Period.”

I think the feelings David reveals in this essay are common feelings among the young. The sad thing is that the young are so pissed-off – and so put-off – by politics in these days that they are thinking about not even voting – not voting at all! One can look at history and find extraordinary examples of apathy dragging down stable governments. It mustn’t happen here – whatever, it mustn’t happen here. I wish there were thousands of young people in every state who felt the way this young man does. Then democracy would be strengthened. At the moment it is under threat – threatened by those who would destroy the concept of “one man – one vote!”

Here’s his entire essay, exactly as I received it from my daughter…

You know, I've just had it.
Had it with being bullied by morons.

Had it with people who attack the "mainstream media" while quoting the right-wing conspiracy theorists word-for-word.

Had it with feeling guilty for being "over-educated." (As if knowledge was a negative thing.)

Had it with being told that tolerance and compassion is a failing.

Had it with being ashamed for wanting a better world, with greater fairness. More justice. Less resentment. Less racism, sexism, bigotry, blind fury.

Had it with being made to feel guilty for caring about other people.

Fairness is a fundamental American value, people. So is rooting for the underdog. So is equality. So is education, as a basic right. So is the underlying value of every human life - and no, that doesn't mean it ends with conception. The actually born matter at least as much as the conceived. Compassion matters. Lifting up other human beings... matters.

I'm a progressive not because I'm a Communist. Not because I worship some leader's dark skin. Not because I want to enslave anyone. Not because I want to enforce some kind of communal utopia where everyone is enforced into an artificial equality. I'm not a Marxist. I'm not a fool.

I simply want democracy.

Democracy, where one person - male or female, black or white or brown or yellow - equals one vote. Not suppressed. Not Jim Crowed. Not questioned. One person. One vote. Period.

Democracy, where corporations are already counted as people by the employees they hire, not as "people" in their own right. Where their employees, and executives, and shareholders, are free to exercise their democratic rights - but as individuals. Not on the principle of "one dollar, one vote," but as "one person, one vote." Where the six Walton heirs are six individuals, with six votes – not with influence equivalent to the 150 million Americans whose wealth is less than each of theirs.

I want what our Founding Fathers wanted. A government, by the people, for the people, and of the people.

What I'm getting instead, is a government of the rich, for the rich, by the rich. You might say that Obama is an example of this, and you might be right. He isn't perfect. I'd love to have a sit-down with him, and give him a piece of my mind. But Romney? You know, I thought about interviewing with his firm, back in the day. Even then - this was 1991 - I recognized it for what it was, and saw it as Gordon Gecko made real.

Obama might be one-quarter steam ahead. I'm not happy with that. But Romney? He's full steam backwards. There's a part of me that hopes he'll win. After all, we're in the 2%, if not the 1%. We'll do much better, selfishly, if Romney is President. But it's a question of who gets what as the ship is sinking. If you want the ship to turn, to go faster, to rely more on the people in the steam room than the people at the helm, and to be more of a cooperative effort than a CEO-takes-all effort... well, I shouldn't have to spell it out for you.

Obama's no saint. I don't worship him. I'm not entirely happy with him, and I wish there were a stronger, more progressive, more full-throated advocate for what really matters in the world, in America, and in life. But Romney? Give me a break. Even when I lived in Mass. and had a chance to vote for him, I saw him for what he was. A hollow shell who would say anything, do anything, to get elected. Get real. This guy no more deserves to be President than I do. Less. At least I'm honest about my failings. Romney? Who knows what he thinks.

Why not become a follower?
If you read my blog regularly, why not become a follower? All you have to do is click in the upper right hand corner and establish a simple means of communication. Then you'll be informed every time a new blog is posted here. If all that's confusing, here's Google's explanation of how to do it! If you don’t want to post comments on the blog, but would like to communicate with me about it, send me an email if you’d like.

No comments:

Post a Comment